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John Pigott & Nick Britton, 13th April 2004

John Pigott & Nick Britton gave a Power Point presentation on Austria using photographs taken on visits made in September 2002 and August 2003. These were supplemented with a number of views taken many years earlier. The programme started with a visit to Linz, which is served by a 900mm gauge tramway. Despite the narrow gauge the system has a modern fleet and is expanding. The fleet comprises 8 and 10 axle bogie cars based on Duewag designs, but built in Austria. More recently Linz has taken delivery of a number of Bombardier Cityrunner low-floor cars and we saw these in service. Flashbacks showed the days when 2-axle cars with trailers were in operation on route B. The visit also included the steeply graded Postlingbergbahn with its traditional 2-axle rolling stock numbered with Roman Numerals and unusual pointwork. Back in the city we saw work on the new ramp to connect with the tramway subway under a rebuilt Hauptbahnhof. At the time of the visit nearly all the fleet was in advertising livery and our speakers had to resort to earlier slides to show the attractive Orange, white and royal blue livery. The Cityrunners are predominantly white with an orange stripe although most are in advertising livery. The modern depot with its collection of works cars and the museum fleet was also featured. A visit was also made to the nearby St. Florian museum tramway where Linz 2-axle car 11 was in operation.

The next port of call was the Salzburger Lokalbahn, which carries significant freight traffic pulled by a collection of electric steeple cab locomotives. The passenger fleet has been progressively modernised in recent years, but several items of earlier rolling stock are still available for traffic. A former Extertalbahn car was seen in its last days of service before being transferred to the Stern & Hafferl operation.

We then moved to the Stern & Hafferl standard gauge lines from Lambach. At Vorchdorf we saw a variety of second hand rolling stock, including cars from Lausanne, Koln and two more ex-Extertalbahn vehicles. On the line from Lambach to Haag am Hausruck there are now three dual voltage cars to provide passenger services. The old rectifier cars are still available to work with older rolling stock.

Returning to Linz our attention was turned to the Lokalbahn. The basic service is provided by some very modern low floor cars, but a number of older cars are available for service including some ex-Koln-Bonn-Eisenbahn sets, and some Koln interurban cars. The operator also has a number of steeple cab locos.

The talk concluded with a visit to the city of Graz in south-east Austria. At the time of the visit the Tram Museum at Maria Trost was being renovated and some of the museum cars were stored in the main workshops including an ex-Wuppertal car. We were also treated to a picture of one of the new Cityrunner cars up on jacks. In the yard was a stack of temporary crossings, which did not appear to have been used for some time. Our thanks go to our speakers for the mammoth task of scanning in 260 prints and slides to illustrate their talk.

John Laker, 19/4/04

London Area – 13th April 2004

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